Minor Player / Variety Act for the week ending
Saturday, 13 May 2009

Anita Edis (fl. early 20th Century),
English music hall comedienne and dancer

Anita Edis

Anita Edis

(photo: Ellis & Walery, London, circa 1905)

'Miss Anita Edis is a young comedienne who is at present entertaining audiences at the Palace Theatre [London]. She possesses a pretty voice, which she uses to good advantage in the rendering of her song, ''I want somebody to teach me,'' and, in addition, she appears to be a danseuse of no small ability. A feature of her appearance is the dresses she wears. That in which Palace habitués have admired the young lady was specially made for her by one of the leading costumiers of Paris. It is of pale blue, handsomely embroidered with sequins and large butterflies, and in front a basket of flowers is depicted. When the rays of light are thrown on the dress while Miss Edis is dancing the impression borne to the eye is that of flowers dropping from the basket.
'Miss Edis made her é three years ago at the Casino de Paris, where her chief song was ''Always do as you are told,'' from The Fortune Teller, and where she attracted a good deal of attention by her step dancing. From the Casino she obtained contracts to appear at the other big houses, and it was whilst she was performing at the Moulin Rouge that the director of the Krewstowski Theatre, St. Petersburg, saw her turn, and engaged her for two months. At the Russian capital she was booked for Odessa and Moscow, and the young lady and her mother relate some exciting experiences which happened to them as they were leaving the latter city. This was in 1906, and at a time when Russia was seething with internal troubles. The two ladies succeeded in obtaining tickets through the aid of the British Consul to enable them to get across the frontier. But while passing through the streets of Moscow they were escorted by Cossacks and were themselves hidden under the luggate in their conveyance. One of the shots that was fired penetrated Miss Edis's basket. Eventually, however, mother and daughter reached Berlin in safety, and after Miss Edis had performed there at the Apollo theatre, they went on to Paris to fulfil an engagement. At Lisbon the young comedienne tells us that she made a great hit, owing in part to her successful introduction of ''La Matichiche'' dance. They came to London last September, and Miss Edis was secured by Mr. Robert Arthur for the part of second boy [Pekoe] in his last season's production of Aladdin at the Adelphi. She also holds pantomime contracts with Mr. Arthur for the next two years. Since the Adelphi pantomime came to an end Miss Edis has been appearing in the Metropolitan music halls. Her present engagement at the Palace, which opened on Monday, is for four weeks. She has been also booked by Mr. Henri Gros [of the Metropolitan music hall, Edgware Road, London[.
'Not unnaturally, a lady in her teens has aspirations, and it is Miss Edis's ambition to become a musical comedy star.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 9 May 1908, p. 25b)

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© John Culme, 2009